Cornwall is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world who come to explore its charming towns & villages, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking landscapes.
In this blog post, I'll introduce you to 41 must see places in Cornwall, from the iconic landmarks to the hidden gems (that only we locals know about)!
Whether you are interested in history, culture, or outdoor activities, Cornwall has something to offer for everyone.
From the ancient castle of Tintagel, linked to the legend of King Arthur, to the charming fishing villages of Port Isaac and Mousehole, there is no shortage of fascinating places to explore.
So, put on your walking shoes, pack your camera, and get ready to discover the true beauty of Cornwall.
You might also like 15 outstanding National Trust properties to visit in Cornwall!
1. The Eden Project
This awe-inspiring eco-attraction, nestled in a reclaimed quarry, boasts the world's largest indoor rainforest.
Encapsulated in enormous biomes, visitors can experience diverse environments from tropical paradises to Mediterranean landscapes.
Beyond its botanic wonders, The Eden Project hosts art installations, events, and workshops year-round, highlighting the importance of sustainability and the bond between humanity and nature.
📍The Eden Project, Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
2. St Michael's Mount
A tidal island steeped in myths and legends, St Michael’s Mount rises majestically from Cornwall’s coast.
Linked to the town of Marazion by a granite causeway at low tide, visitors can traverse on foot or, during high tide, opt for a short boat ride.
The island houses a medieval church and castle, with centuries of history waiting to be discovered. The panoramic views atop the mount are simply breathtaking.
📍St Michael's Mount, Marazion, TR17 0HS
3. Minack Theatre
Carved into the granite cliffs of Porthcurno, Minack Theatre is an open-air amphitheatre like no other.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, theatrical performances here are complemented by the backdrop of crashing waves and expansive horizons.
Originally conceived by Rowena Cade in the 1930s, the theatre continues to captivate audiences with its diverse lineup and unparalleled setting.
📍Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance TR19 6JU
4. Lost Gardens of Heligan
Forgotten for over seven decades and restored to their former glory, the Lost Gardens of Heligan offer an enchanting journey through time.
Spanning over 200 acres, this botanical paradise is divided into themed gardens, showcasing everything from Victorian Productive Gardens to romantic Pleasure Grounds.
The Jungle, with its boardwalks, takes visitors through a sub-tropical ravine like no other in the UK.
📍Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St Austell PL26 6EN
5. Tintagel Castle
Associated with the legends of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is steeped in myths and history.
Perched on Cornwall's rugged coastline, this medieval fortification offers dramatic sea views, making it a photographer's delight.
With links to the legend of the Knights of the Round Table, it's a place where folklore and history intertwine, transporting visitors back to the days of chivalry.
📍Tintagel Castle, Tintagel PL34 0HE
6. Land's End
As the most westerly point of mainland England, Land’s End offers windswept landscapes and panoramic views of the Atlantic.
With its iconic signpost denoting the distance to New York and other landmarks, it's a must-visit for anyone in Cornwall.
The adjacent visitor centre provides interactive experiences, making it an ideal spot for families.
📍Land's End, Sennen, Penzance TR19 7AA
7. Bodmin Jail
A relic from the 18th century, Bodmin Jail offers a chilling insight into Cornwall’s penal history.
Now a museum, visitors can explore its depths, learning about the jail's notorious inmates and Britain's judicial past.
The atmospheric cells and exhibitions, detailing tales of crime and punishment, ensure an intriguing visit for history enthusiasts.
📍Bodmin Jail, Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin PL31 2NR
8. Pendennis Castle
Standing sentinel over the Fal Estuary since the time of Henry VIII, Pendennis Castle offers a blend of history and panoramic views.
Originally built as a defence fortress, it has witnessed two World Wars and holds countless stories.
From interactive exhibitions on wartime Britain to its artillery collections, Pendennis offers a deep dive into Cornwall’s martial past.
📍Pendennis Castle, Falmouth TR11 4LP
9. Cornwall Gold
Embracing Cornwall's rich mining heritage, Cornwall Gold provides an immersive experience into the world of goldsmithing.
Set within 18 acres, visitors can explore the Tolgus Tin Mill, pan for treasures, or even craft their own jewellery.
A blend of history and hands-on experiences, it's a glittering testament to Cornwall's golden past.
📍Cornwall Gold, Tolgus Mill, Redruth TR16 4HN
10. St. Ives Bay
Encompassed by a crescent of golden sand, St. Ives Bay boasts some of Cornwall’s most picturesque views.
The bay, stretching from Godrevy to St Ives, is framed by rolling dunes and dramatic cliffs. With shallow waters, it's a family-friendly destination.
The town of St. Ives, with its cobbled streets and vibrant art scene, provides a cultural complement to the bay’s natural beauty.
11. Fistral Beach
Renowned as the heartland of British surfing, Fistral Beach is a mecca for wave chasers.
Its consistent swell and vast expanse make it ideal for both seasoned surfers and newcomers.
Apart from the adrenaline rush, the beach offers splendid views, especially during sunset, making it a romantic spot as well.
📍Fistral Beach, Newquay TR7 1HY
12. Porthcurno Beach
Sequestered between rugged cliffs, Porthcurno Beach is a hidden oasis. Its turquoise waters and fine sands have often led it to be compared with more tropical locales.
Close by is the aforementioned Minack Theatre, making the beach a perfect spot to relax before catching a performance.
📍Porthcurno Beach, Porthcurno, Penzance TR19 6JX
13. Port Isaac
A quintessential Cornish fishing village, Port Isaac is a tapestry of narrow alleys, historic buildings, and stunning sea views.
It's famously the setting for the television series 'Doc Martin', but its charm extends beyond that, offering a serene escape from urban life.
Mousehole retains the charm of yesteryears with its stone-clad harbour, traditional fishermen's cottages, and quaint streets.
Particularly enchanting during Christmas, when the village is illuminated by festive lights, it’s a harbour of tranquillity and nostalgia.
With its narrow, winding streets and cottages perched on steep hillsides, Polperro feels like a step back in time.
The harbour, still active with fishing boats, and the traffic-free streets make it an idyllic spot for relaxation and exploration.
Nature, Wildlife & Landscape
16. South West Coast Path
One of the UK's longest national trails, the South West Coast Path stretches over 630 miles, offering a medley of landscapes. From serene beaches to dramatic cliff-tops, every step unveils nature's artistry, making it a haven for trekkers and nature enthusiasts alike.
17. Bodmin Moor
An expanse of wild, untamed landscapes, Bodmin Moor is a haven for adventurers and nature lovers.
With its granite tors, vast moorland, and historic relics (such as The Hurler's Stone Circle), it's a place where legends like that of the Beast of Bodmin Moor come to life.
Whether you're into hiking, history, or simply soaking in nature's beauty, the moor has something for everyone.
Go for a wild swim at Goldiggins Quarry, or a walk up to the top of Roughtor!
18. Godrevy Head to St. Agnes
This coastal stretch offers some of Cornwall's most awe-inspiring vistas. Rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and a rich tapestry of flora and fauna make this a choice route for walkers.
With Godrevy Lighthouse standing guard against the vast Atlantic, it's a sightseer's dream.
19. Lizard Point
Lizard Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Britain, offers an arresting blend of wildflowers, dramatic cliffs, and endless ocean vistas.
It's a biodiversity hotspot, hosting a myriad of bird species and rare plants.
The old lifeboat station and the Lizard Lighthouse further enhance the area's historic charm, making it an essential spot for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
📍Lizard Point, Lizard, Helston TR12 7NT
20. Trebah Garden
This sub-tropical paradise spans over 26 acres, cascading down a ravine to a private beach on the Helford River.
Boasting a myriad of exotic plants, the garden feels like a lush, Cornish rainforest.
Families can revel in its adventure play areas, while adults might enjoy the peaceful ambiance and the stunning seasonal colours.
📍Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth TR11 5JZ
21. Lanhydrock House
A magnificent late Victorian country house, Lanhydrock stands amidst vast gardens and wooded estate.
Inside, visitors can journey through time, exploring elegant rooms that depict both upstairs grandeur and downstairs service life.
The surrounding grounds offer an array of trails, perfect for both cycling and walking.
You might also like 15 outstanding National Trust places to visit in Cornwall.
📍Lanhydrock House, Bodmin PL30 5AD
22. Newquay Zoo
An oasis in the heart of Newquay, this zoo is home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals. Engaging events, like feeding times and keeper talks, make the zoo a delightful and educational experience for all ages.
See also Top 8 Must Visit Zoos in Cornwall.
📍Newquay Zoo, Trenance Gardens, Newquay TR7 2LZ
23. Pendeen Watch
Dominated by its historic lighthouse, Pendeen Watch offers a picturesque coastal view that's particularly captivating during stormy weather.
The lighthouse, operational since 1900, is a testament to Cornwall’s maritime history. Nearby, visitors can explore remnants of Cornwall's mining heritage.
📍Pendeen Watch, Pendeen, Penzance TR19 7ED
Nestled on the River Fowey's edge, Golitha Falls is a serene haven where cascading waters weave through a canopy of ancient oak woodland.
The reserve, particularly enchanting in spring when bluebells carpet the ground, offers trails for both casual strolls and serious hikes.
📍Golitha Falls, Draynes Bridge, St Cleer, Liskeard PL14 6RX
25. Poldark Mine
Update: Currently this attraction is closed.
Immersing visitors into Cornwall's rich tin mining heritage, Poldark Mine is both a cultural and historical revelation.
The guided underground tours shed light on the challenging conditions miners faced, while above ground, the site offers verdant gardens and traditional Cornish buildings.
26. Cornish Cream Tea
An emblematic Cornish delight, cream teas consist of scones slathered with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by a hot cup of tea.
27. Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Synonymous with seafood excellence, this Padstow-based restaurant has been drawing food connoisseurs for decades.
Under the culinary helm of Rick Stein, the establishment serves a menu that celebrates the ocean's bounty, sourced from local fishermen and crafted with global inspirations.
📍Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Riverside, Padstow PL28 8BY
Cornish Pasty Shops
A Cornish pasty, with its golden crust enveloping a hearty mix of meat, potatoes and vegetables, is more than just a meal – it’s a regional emblem.
Across Cornwall, myriad pasty shops, from family-run bakeries to renowned chains, offer this savoury delight, each boasting its own secret recipe.
29. Tate St Ives
Overlooking the Atlantic on Porthmeor Beach, Tate St Ives celebrates the modern artists who've called the town home.
With a collection that rotates with the seasons, it's a living testament to the region's vibrant art scene. The architecture itself, blending seamlessly with the coastal setting, is a masterpiece.
📍Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG
30. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
Once the studio of the renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth, this museum is an intimate glimpse into her world.
The garden, dotted with her striking bronze sculptures amidst lush plants, feels like a sanctuary. It's a place where art and nature converge in harmonious splendour.
📍Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1AD
31. Leach Pottery
Established by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada in 1920, Leach Pottery is considered the birthplace of British studio pottery.
Visitors can watch artisans at work, explore historic collections, and even attend workshops to try their hand at this ancient craft.
📍Leach Pottery, Higher Stennack, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2HE
32. Fowey River Gallery
Situated in the picturesque town of Fowey, this gallery is a confluence of traditional and contemporary art. Showcasing an eclectic mix from paintings to ceramics, it mirrors the artistic vibrancy of Cornwall.
📍Fowey River Gallery, 41 Fore St, Fowey, Cornwall PL23 1AH
33. St. Austell Brewery
Brewing since the 1850s, St. Austell Brewery offers visitors a deep dive into the art of beer-making.
With guided tours that navigate its historic Victorian brewing equipment and cellars, it's a journey capped off with a tasting of their renowned ales.
📍St. Austell Brewery, 63 Trevarthian Rd, St Austell PL25 4BY
34. Falmouth Art Gallery
A treasure trove in the heart of Falmouth, this gallery boasts a diverse collection of works from British artists of the 18th century to present-day local talents. With its interactive exhibitions and family-friendly activities, it caters to art aficionados of all ages.
📍Falmouth Art Gallery, The Moor, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2RT
35. Penzance’s Jubilee Pool
This iconic art-deco lido, built in the 1930s, provides a refreshing seawater swimming experience.
Overlooking the sea, its elegant geometric design and azure waters make it both a visual delight and a haven for swimmers.
📍Penzance’s Jubilee Pool, Battery Rd, Penzance TR18 4FF
36. Adrenaline Quarry
A playground for thrill-seekers, Adrenaline Quarry promises heart-pounding excitement.
From its giant swing that soars over the quarry lake to zip wires and cliff jumping, it's an adrenaline-packed experience set against a backdrop of rugged beauty.
See also 12 top adrenaline activities in Cornwall!
📍Adrenaline Quarry, Lower Clicker Road, Menheniot, Liskeard PL14 3PJ
Surf without the unpredictability of the ocean. FlowRider offers an exhilarating simulated wave experience, perfect for both beginners wanting to learn and experienced riders seeking a consistent challenge.
📍FlowRider, Retallack Resort, Winnards Perch, St Columb Major TR9 6DE
38. Hangloose Adventure
Located within the Eden Project, Hangloose is home to England's longest and fastest zip wire.
It also offers a plethora of other adventures, from giant swings to free-falls, ensuring an adrenaline rush for everyone.
📍Hangloose Adventure, Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall PL24 2SG
39. St. Nectan's Glen
A haven of tranquillity and mysticism, St. Nectan's Glen is centred around a mesmerising waterfall that cascades through a hole in the rocks.
According to legend, it's a place favoured by fairies and spirits, making it a must-visit for those intrigued by folklore.
You might also like to read about 10 beautiful waterfalls in Cornwall.
📍St. Nectan's Glen, Trethevy, Tintagel PL34 0BE
40. Camel Creek Adventure Park
Perfect for families, this park brims with attractions. From thrilling rides and animal encounters to indoor play zones, it ensures a fun-packed day irrespective of the weather.
📍Camel Creek Adventure Park, Tredinnick, Wadebridge PL27 7RA
41. Sennen Cove
A surfer’s paradise, Sennen Cove boasts golden sands and consistent waves. But beyond surfing, its dramatic cliffs, panoramic views, and mesmerising sunsets make it a sought-after destination for those looking to soak in the serene beauty of Cornwall.
📍Sennen Cove, Sennen, Penzance TR19 7DG
Must Visit Places in Cornwall: A Recap
From its pristine beaches to historical landmarks, every corner of Cornwall promises a unique story. It's not just a county; it’s a realm of endless wonders. So, when are you penning your Cornish adventure?
Frequently Asked Questions
While cars are convenient, Cornwall also has a well-connected bus and rail network for easy travel.
Yes, many beaches and accommodations welcome our furry friends.
Cornwall is delightful year-round. However, the most popular time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warmer and attractions are fully operational.
While you can buy tickets on arrival, booking in advance can save time during peak seasons and occasionally offers discounts.
You can walk to St Michael's Mount during low tide. During high tide, boats ferry visitors to and from the island.
While many areas of Pendennis Castle are accessible, some sections may prove challenging due to uneven ground or stairs.
Fistral Beach, being popular for surfing, is patrolled by lifeguards during the main season, ensuring safety for swimmers and surfers alike.
Some activities at Adrenaline Quarry have age, height, or weight restrictions. It's advisable to check their website or contact them directly before planning a visit.
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